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Teaching Guidelines

What is “my ufl?”

The University expects you to use the portal MyUFL (which is sometimes called “PeopleSoft”) with your GatorLink log-in to receive information about graduate studies, announcements for travel, fellowships, etc. and for submitting grades. Faculty will also use the portal to initiate many of their activities, including travel, grades, downloading class roles, etc.[/expand]

Can I post grades outside of my office?

No. The only way to post grades is to provide or have each student provide you with a unique four-digit PIN (cannot be part of their Social Security number); then, you can post grades using these numbers. However, it is best to not post grades or points from exams. You cannot tell any student the grade or points on an exam of another student. Most instructors use the E-Learning system to communicate grades and other instructional activities with students.

Can I leave student papers outside my office door?

No. As with grades, students have the right to privacy and confidentiality; leaving papers outside of offices breaches this right of confidentiality and privacy.

Can I have office hours in my home or at a restaurant?

No. Office hours must be in a university office. You also cannot hold any course meetings, review sessions, etc. outside of campus buildings, even if the students agree to do so. This is to protect you against claims of unequal treatment, comply with ADA requirements and confirm to liability laws expectations of the University.

Where do I store my exams after I have finished as a Teaching Assistant or Associate?

All grades, exams, etc. must be kept at least one semester. Each TA room has a file cabinet. Your final grade book or electronic file should be given to the teacher in the course. If you are a Teaching Associate, electronic files for courses should be sent to Patricia King for archiving.

Can I call long distance from my office?

No, the telephones are for local use only. Each telephone in a TA office has voice mail so that students can leave you messages. Only faculty can call long distance using the SUNCOM system.

Where can I get exams copied?

Exams are to be copied through the main office. You can leave them with Pamela Freeman. We require three business days for turn around for copying. Exams are sent to a secure copy center for duplication. Even though Faculty and TA’s are given photocopy accounts for the office photocopier, exams should not be copied on that machine. Please try to limit the number of pages on exams by double-sided copying, etc. The office staff does not make photocopies. All handouts for courses should be posted on the web site or E-Learning site for the course. Paper handouts can only be used for material that cannot be put on the web.

Can I use a “hotmail” or “yahoo” account for my work as a TA?

The Department and University require you to use a “@UFL” (gatorlink) account. You cannot access Office programs on the TA computers without an “@ufl” account. You should not use a Gmail, Yahoo or other third-party accounts for any teaching or other university business. Most classes use e-learning, and we recommend that you use that mail system as your contact point with students in your classes.

Where can I print materials for class?

The computers in the TA rooms are linked to the laser printer in the Student Resource Room in B340. The Department supplies toner for the printer and we ask you to bring your own paper to the machine each time you print. You can get paper for course-related activities from Pamela Freeman.

How much photocopying can I do?

The photocopy machine in the mail-room is for your use for limited copying for teaching-related materials. Any handouts for your courses are best put on the course web page for downloading by students. There is a 400-page limit per semester on photocopying for teaching assistants and an 800-page limit for teaching associates. Faculty have their own photocopying code numbers as well. Graders do not have a photocopying allotment; any copying done by graders should be done under the number of the instructor, whether they are a TO or faculty member. The photocopying machine is only for classroom copying, not for research or personal copying. The University and Department expect handouts to be distributed electronically to students whenever possible.

Can I get web support?

The department has limited web support; the university has online help for developing web pages and using the web for your courses. There are workshops on this throughout the fall term through Academic Technology, and we urge you to attend these.

What do I do if I have a serious problem with safety on campus or in the classroom?

The University of Florida is obligated to provide a safe and secure environment. If you or any student does not feel safe (for example, if a student feels that they are being stalked or that parts of campus are unsafe), please contact the Chair or, in emergency, the University Police Department, (392-1111) or emergency (911). You should meet with the mentor you have for the course or with the Graduate Coordinator about any issue that involves teaching, as well as with the Chair of the Department.

What about students with disabilities?

If a student has a disability, that student must bring you an official letter to that effect from the Dean of Students’ office. Usually, students may need extra time to take an exam or other accommodations. You are not obligated to give any students your notes, but if you use overheads or Powerpoint, disabled students must have access to them. Here is the statement that all syllabi have to have regarding students with disabilities.

ADA Statement: Students with disabilities, who need reasonable modifications to complete assignments successfully and otherwise satisfy course criteria, are encouraged to meet with the instructor as early in the course as possible to identify and plan specific accommodations. Students WILL be asked to supply a letter from the [Office for Students with Disabilities] to assist in planning accommodations.

What if a student wants extra credit?

Some professors give extra credit; however, if you give any extra credit, it must be available for all students in the course. Your grading system must be clearly stated in the syllabus of the course.

What are the University regulations and suggestions about course syllabi?

UF Policy on Course Syllabi (PDF).

Where is the film and video library?

The library has an extensive DVD library (2nd floor, Library West). The Anthropology Department has a limited video library housed in Turlington Room 1112 that is for use by instructors and teaching assistants. In addition, the UF Library has subscribed to an ethnographic video repository that allows online access to hundreds of ethnographic films and videos, “Ethnographic Video Online”, which can be searched, clips made for classes, and is accessible to students and faculty with a valid GatorLink account.

Can I take the responsibility for handling sexual harassment problems in my class?

No. Once the problem is reported to you, you must report it to the instructor for the course, or the Chair of the Department if you are responsible for the class. Review UF’s Sexual Harassment Policy. Sexual harassment workshops are available online and every faculty and teaching assistant is expected to complete the course.

Can I date a student in my class?

It is not ethical or professional to do so, since it creates a conflict of interest.

Can I revise my syllabus once the class has started?

No, except to correct errors in descriptions, grammar, or other minor items. The syllabus constitutes a contract between you and the students. Once you have posted or distributed the syllabus, it can only be changed with the unanimous consent of the class. This includes such things as changing the time of a class meeting, extra credit or a different way of calculating the final grade.

Can I expel a disruptive student from class?

Yes. The usual practice is to ask a disruptive student to leave a particular class and have a private talk with the student. Review the Student Handbook and the Faculty Handbook for additional information.

Can I allow additional students to take my class, beyond the official “cap”?

If the cap has been set by the Department, you may, as long as the room has sufficient space. If the cap has to do with room limits set by the University, you may not.

Can I require participation in research projects for students?

You cannot involve students in projects that are for your own research. If you design a class project which involves interaction with people not in your class, you may have to seek approval from the Institutional Review Board and have participants sign an informed consent statement. The IRB may also issue a letter of exemption. Note that you cannot take biological samples or invade the personal privacy of participants or students without consulting the IRB.

In establishing rapport with students, what kind of questions can I ask?

Most students are not offended if you ask where they are from or where they last went to school. But you must make it clear that they are not required to answer the question. You should not ask about a student’s ethnicity, religion or family. If a student volunteers such information in class discussion, you can pursue it further.

Can I award grades or lower grades on the basis of attendance?

Yes, if it is clearly stated in the syllabus.

Can I award grades on the basis of class participation?

Yes, if it is clearly stated in the syllabus.

Can I let a student sit in or audit my class?

All students, whether they are taking the course for credit or as an auditor, must be registered for the class.

Can I cancel classes?

The certification of the University and its various programs depends on having a certain number of hours in class. If you must unavoidably cancel a class, say for illness, you must schedule a make-up. You must send a notice to your course listserv and post a note at your classroom and notify the Chair of the Department if a class must be canceled.

What is my academic rank and title?

If you are helping a professor teach a class, you are a Teaching Assistant (TA), not an Instructor. If you are a Teaching Associate (TO) with sole responsibility for a class, you are an Instructor. You may not use the department letterhead, use the department’s mail service, or refer to yourself as a professor in soliciting free books or other materials from commercial companies unless you have been appointed an Instructor, or have the permission of the department chair. You may not.

Can I take computers or other university-owned equipment home with me?

Only with the permission of the chair of the department and completing a property document available from Karen Jones in the Main Office.

Can I take computers or equipment out of the country?

Yes, but only after completing a form so that the equipment is registered as being out of the country. The danger of taking a computer out of the country is that if it is stolen, information about students, faculty members or the university can be accessed, perhaps leading to identity theft.

Is there a dress code for students or teachers?

No, but conventionally, teachers do not wear very informal clothes such as shorts and T-shirts while teaching.

Can I expel a student for plagiarism or cheating?

Only if a policy to that effect is in the syllabus. The procedures for dealing with plagiarism and cheating and for resolving cheating and other violations of academic honesty are outlined at the Dean of Student’s site

Exams and E-Learning.

The University and Department encourages the use of the e-learning or Sakai system for posting announcements, grades during classes, and for the submission of papers and other classwork. These systems can also provide on-line examinations (including those with graphics, essays, etc.). There are online tutorials where you can learn how to use these systems.

Where can I go for help?

Visit with your course mentor, your graduate committee chair, the graduate coordinator and the department chair with any questions about teaching in the department.